21:01 / 25.03.2020
Coronavirus: Russia announces national week off, postpones April referendum on changes to the country’s constitution

President of Russia Vladimr Putin announced a national week off from March 28 to April 5 in the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Photo: RIA News / Alexey Druzhinin

“Now it is extremely important to prevent the rapid spread of the disease. Therefore, I declare next week non-working with the preservation of wages. The weekend will run from Saturday March 28 to Sunday April 5,” Putin said in an address on national television, Anadolu Agency reported.

He also said an April 22 vote on constitutional amendments will be postponed.

“You know how seriously I take this, but the absolute priority for us is the health, life and safety of people, so I think that the vote should be postponed to a later date. We will assess the situation in the regions and in the country, and only based on professional opinion, recommendations of doctors and specialists, we will make a decision on a new voting day,” he said.

Authorities announced 163 new COVID-19 cases in Russia in the last 24 hours, bringing the figure to 658 across 55 regions.

Twenty-nine people have recovered and were discharged from hospitals since the beginning of the pandemic.